One of the First Question most first time visitors to New York ask is, What is the Best/Area place to stay in New York City? Its a hard Question to answer as there is not Best place. They all have their own unique Pros and Cons.
There are literally Hundreds of hotels in New York. Ranging from Budget to Super high-end Luxury. These are Hotels are Scattered far and wide across the City. It really can be hard to know the best places to stay in New York City. Slap Bang in the Middle or Well away from it all? There is a lot to consider.
So this guide is aimed at helping you understand the pros and cons of each are and how to find your perfect Hotel. It is not an Exhaustive list of ALL New York Neighbourhood’s more a Guide to the popular Neighbourhood’s that have a large concentration of hotels that are suitable for the average visitor.
When I discuss Hotel Prices it’s important to understand I am referring to similar standards In all areas there will be a spread of differing quality Hotels with differing prices to match. But the Same Standard of hotel will Differ in Price through the Districts according to demand and hotel running costs.
And It’s worth noting that it’s all relative. New York is an Expensive place to stay. Even bargain basement cheap hotels are still pricey.
Safety – What’s the Safest Neighbourhood?
A quick note on safety. New York has a reputation as an unsafe City. This is a historical reputation that today is completely unfounded. I was once told to always carry enough cash to satisfy a mugger. Nowadays all I would advise is to carry enough cash to satisfy a hot dog vendor! Any Neighbourhood I suggest is safe at pretty much all hours.
Like all City’s nowhere is 100% safe. But basic precautions are all that’s need. Travel safe and smart. But New York is probably one of the safest places you will ever visit. Not least because of the incredible work of the NYPD.
Most people stay on the island of Manhattan. It’s where most of the most popular attractions are and most hotels are situated here. You don’t need to stay in Manhattan, Lots of People don’t. But it’s where Most of this article will relate too. I have covered the Other Boroughs Below.
Obviously, Manhattan is far too large to not break it down into districts. These are not listed in Order of Preference more order of popularity. It’s important to read the Pro’s and cons and see what suits you. One person’s perfect is another person’s Hell.
Right at the heart of everything. This is first timers idea of what New York Really is. Most Attractions are right on your doorstep. Hotels Won’t be cheap and neither will be anything else. But, a short stroll away will find you pretty much anything at cheaper prices.
- Right in the Middle of it all
- Every amenity on hand
- Great for short Stays as limited travel time
- Major Subway stop to whisk you off to anywhere else in New York
- Busy, Really Busy
- Hotels Expensive
- Everything Else Expensive (Times Square Surcharge)
- Can be noisy at all hours
- Did I mention its Busy?
Technically Times Square is in Midtown but its worthy of its own mention. This is for everywhere else in Midtown that’s not Times Square. Hotels are Cheaper here but not by much. You still have a PRIME central location and you are going to pay for that, But, Its worth it.
Midtown is a large area and as such, there is a huge array of hotels from Budget to The Poshest of Posh. Midtown Shares most of Times Squares Advantages while mitigating some of the Disadvantages.
- Close to most attractions
- Heart of the City
- Many Transport links for further exploration
- Slightly Quieter than Times Square
- Many restaurants, Cafes, Bars within Walking distance
- Still Noisy
Just outside of midtown to the west Hells Kitchen is not as scary as it sounds. Its name was based on the early poor Irish immigrants who populated the district. Back then It would not be advisable to stay here, but the Hells Kitchen of today bears no resemblance.
Now Renowned as a foodies paradise if you can’t find something great to eat here I don’t think you will anywhere. Still Fairly central and only a short walk to Times Square and most of New Yorks attractions. Hustle and Bustle begins to drop around here and so do the Hotel Prices, but remember it’s still New York so They can still be pricey.
- Still Quite central
- Prices cheaper
- Wide Variety of Restaurants
- Slightly away from the centre
- Small amount of travel to attractions
- Less big city “buzz”
Very Much Like Hells Kitchen but off to the East. Again a very similar prospect only with fewer food options. The area feels more business like. Again very close to everything and prices are that little bit cheaper. Most Attractions are very close and Grand Central is nearby meaning transport links are excellent. I can be a little noisy all day and night so look for a room high off the ground.
- Still Quite central
- Prices cheaper
- Very good transport links
- Can Be Noisy
- Business feel as opposed to Touristy
- Slightly further out of the centre
One of our favourite parts of New York. It’s not particularly well placed but it’s a nice place to be in itself. Great for longer Stays where you have time to go off and explore the City but you have a nice relaxed area to come back to. Very hip and trendy with lots of bars and cafes. Prices are reasonable too.
- More Relaxed Feel
- Pleasant “leafy” upmarket area
- Many Bars, Cafe’s Restaurants
- Further away from centre
- Travel required for most attractions
This is the very high end of New York. Top Quality hotels at top prices. Not a particularly fantastic location (great for the Museums) But then if you can afford these prices getting about is probably not an issue.
- Very Upmarket Area
- Near Central Park with Possible Views
- Excellent for museum visits
- Very Expensive
- Poorly Located for tourist attractions
Staying Downtown can be equally as expensive as Midtown. You are obviously not near many of the Midtown attractions and will need to travel to them. But you will be near a whole host of other attractions that you will probably have travelled from Midtown to See (World trade Centre, Wall Street, Battery Park).
Downtown is a different experience. It’s all a lot more modern and “clean” (not that Midtown is Dirty!)
- Different feel to Midtown
- Great for Return guests wanting something different
- Lots of Attractions Nearby
- Great Transport links
- Far Away from Midtown Attractions
Greenwich Village / Soho / Tribeca
I’m afraid I have lumped quite a few districts into one here. Mainly because they border each other and as such share very similar pros and cons. Each has its own Vibe but really very similar in terms of access to the rest of the city.
The Hip Trendy modern parts of New York. Lots of cafes, bars and restaurants. Prices vary wildly, Bargains can be had but also home to some high-end hotels. Similar to Chelsea in that you need to travel to most places, Although Tribeca is technically downtown so close to those attractions (World trade Centre, Wall Street, Battery Park). It’s a nice fun place to return back to in the evening. There is no shortage of excellent places to eat and drink.
- Very Hip Trendy Areas
- Loads of Bars and Restaurants
- Quiet Peaceful Base
- Not Located Centrally
- Lacks the City Buzz
Brooklyn – Google Maps
Staying in Brooklyn probably means to will need to travel for most things. But the Subway whisks you into the city quickly and easily. If you can get a good bargain and don’t mind the trip every day to see the New York’s Best Attractions then Brooklyn is a good location but It doesn’t beat actually staying in Manhattan. It’s far less Touristy, But you probably are a Tourist?
- Can Save Money
- Relaxed Quieter Feel
- More “real” New York Feel
- Long Travel Every time you want to visit Manhattan
Staten Island / Queens / The Bronx
Really apart from Brooklyn I really don’t advise staying outside of Manhattan unless you really have a specific reason. There are Bargains to be had but there is a reason for that. And it’s just not worth the travel time to save a bit of cash. If it is your dream trip to the big Apple Its advisable to stay in the heart of the City where you can really enjoy the experience. There is Nothing wrong with these boroughs and I highly encourage a visit. They just aren’t what MOST people are looking for when weighing up accommodation.
Now you have the Area Decided its time to find a suitable hotel. This is not easy. TripAdviser lists over 460 hotels In New York. So even with your area narrowed down, there will still be a Big list to choose from. Unfortunately Budget is going to be a big factor. This can instantly rule a large portion of hotels out the running.
Remember Competition is Fierce so poor hotel won’t be around for long so the chances are you will be fine with whatever you choose.
I have a full post on choosing the Best Hotel in New York City so you may like to read that if you want further help on choosing your Hotel.
Been to New York recently? Where did you stay? What did you think of it? Would you have rather stayed elsewhere? I would love to hear your experiences Please comment below. And drop me a comment if you have any questions at all